Networking can start in your own backyard. Or the gallery space of your college.
That’s the spirit behind the second installment of The Exchangers, an internal networking event held at Lakeshore’s L Space Gallery whose goal is to unite students in different programs at Humber College.
“We wanted to get students together who may not have the opportunity to connect through their academic programs,” said Tara Mazurk, curator of Humber’s gallery and collection.
Mazurk conceived the idea with Natalie St-Pierre, an administrative assistant at Humber’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, because they were concerned students from different disciplines were operating in silos.
The Exchangers debuted last November as a casual forum for students to meet, talk about the projects they’re working on, and share ideas and inspiration. In fact, inspiration is a central theme of the networking salon.
“We recognize that a lot of self-reflective practices, like talking about where you get your inspiration from or how do you actually take that big idea and make it happen, were often not talked about in-depth in a lot of different programs,” said Mazurk.
“The Exchangers is an opportunity for students to come together and talk about the big picture ideas,” she said.
This past Wednesday evening’s chats took on the theme of inspiration and focused on the next step: taking a seed of an idea and actually making it happen.
Business Marketing student and guest speaker Souleymane Guindo, 23, kicked off the talk by sharing his experience in founding the HSF-sanctioned The Next Generation Music Club.
Guindo said after the “big idea”, the next and most important step is asking oneself “how do I make this happen?” and coming up with a plan to get there.
Guindo said in addition to creativity, inspiration, and a plan, it often takes just a little bit of luck.
“I’m a spiritual guy so I do believe in luck, or fate, or whatever you want to call it,” said Guindo, noting luck tends to come to people with positive and open minds.
After each of the three speakers spoke for five minutes about their experience taking a big idea from thought to reality, the salon attendees were encouraged to meet someone they’d never spoken to before, using questions projected on a screen as an access point for the conversation.
First-year Broadcast Television and Videography student Caitlind Gaskin, 21, attended The Exchangers for the first time and said her key take-away was the importance of having an open mind when discussing your ideas.
“We talked about ideas from the first step to the last step and the process in between and I think getting other peoples’ opinions really opens up your eyes,” said Gaskin.
When asked how to take an idea to the next level, fourth-year Bachelor of Music student and guest speaker Daniel Sykora’s advice was simple.
“Just do something,” he said.
Sykora also said using available resources is essential when making an idea come to fruition.
This sentiment was shared by Architectural Technology student and guest speaker Jason Tian, who said learning to work with other people has been key to his personal growth and success.
The salon closed with a group discussion that Mazurk says tends to unite the participants.
“It’s a really powerful moment of the event because a lot of people realize that they aren’t alone in their thinking,” said Mazurk.
“In November, someone mentioned that they find a lot of self-doubt when they’re trying to get inspired and they’re not sure they have the skills or capacity to accomplish anything, and you could see everyone’s shoulders just kind of drop and there was a sigh of relief in the room like everyone was feeling the same way,” she said.